Monday, July 25

Stuff from the box

I don't have alot of time to root around in my thoughts, but these are a few things that have been in my box lately:

- Nothing sets you up for success more than good preparation.

- People are part of you; and if there's no people, there's no you. You can't escape it.

- The love of God gives everything and doesn't ask for anything in return.

- I wrestle with three different opponents everyday: God, myself, and others.

- Steve Cotter may be one of the most physically diverse person I know of. He specializes and was taught in certain MMA disciplines, but he has some serious flexibility, mobility and strength that allows him to do just about anything. Some of you may be interested:

Tuesday, July 19

Take Heart

Come this saturday at approximately 7 in the morning, I will be diving into the water to begin a triathlon my brother and I have been training for. I don't know what to expect. Something keeps telling me that I'm prepared but my nerves tell me I'm not. Regardless, its going to happen and how I enter the race will greatly decide how I will finish it.
We had a short biking session today and while I was riding, the wind was relentlessly pounding me back trying to slow me down. I wanted to turn around, find a detour around the open road, and try to avoid the resistance. It wasn't happening. I had to go that direction if I wanted to get home. Taking a detour would only prolong my journey. I had to face the wind, drop down a gear and push through the burn.

OK, so it wasn't really that bad, but this is similar to what I go through and what I think everybody goes through nearly on a daily basis. We face resistance. So what, just find a detour and go around it. But how do you go around wind? Its there, penetrating every piece of atmosphere in that direction.
Jesus told his disciples that they would have trouble in this world, they would face opposition and resistance to who they are and what they do; they would even face death that wouldn't really be pleasant to say the least. But "take heart", he told them, "for I have overcome the world". Pretty encouraging, eh? The man who befriended you, taught you, says he will DIE for you tells you to take heart in the midst of trouble. It would have sounded like nonsense except for one other detail...He's also God.

So I put my head down, drop a gear, and ride on into the wind, not like it isn't there, but like it has no power over me. It would be an act of passivety to try to escape and avoid it; it would just prolong my journey and I would eventually find it pushing against me in opposition once again. But there is hope and we grow stronger because we persevere. So when facing opposition, tuck your head for some extra aero, drop down a gear, and ride hard, because He has overcome the world.

Monday, July 18

The Man Who Came Before

There's a piece in every human's soul only able to be filled by a father.

My father means alot to me. There's so many memories and thoughts that are able to flood my mind when I think about him. Sometimes I arrogantly dam them up to only focus on the present issues. Its pretty much just pessimism on my part. I've just become so used to the normative and casual presence of a father that an act out of love doesn't occur to me as such; and most of the time it passes my senses without a notice. Honestly, I feel pretty bad about this, and want to change it.

Thinking a bit on this earlier today, I realized that as a child, my dad meant the world to me. He was the epitome of fatherhood and nothing could trump him. Then sometime around adolescence I discovered that he wasn't perfect and life went downhill. I started to rebel against both of my parents. I gained weight. I got angry too much. Things happened because I discovered that my father was human. You could probally call this time the middle ages of my life. It was a transition from recognizing the plight of humanity into recognizing the grace of the Divine. God began to make himself present in my life as The Father. It didn't eliminate my need for my own father or the deep desire within my heart to love him in return, but I think it strengthened it; it gave room for me to learn a greater love.

My father is a great man. He has gone through 60 some years of life full of people, experiences, history...I keep forgetting this. I forget that he has gone before me. He has taken my life into his from the day I was born and nurtured me into who I am now. Things didn't always go as planned, but no matter how much I may not like it, I reflect my father. I have a choice to either accept that I am the son of my father and utilize it in developing my life, or to reject it and try to be someone else completely.

God the Father is in every human being. We are made in his likeness. Our souls are reflections of his very own nature. Theres only two choices; and you do choose, even if passively. Either choose to live boldly reflecting the Father's heart, or reject it and try to be your own deity.

To Take Part in His Divine Reality

What is justice? This is a question I have most recently been meditating on and thinking through. It is a crucial question that has been affecting many parts of my life as I continue to think through it, and its implications are so serious that at times they had caused me to drop what I had been doing and momentarily wonder in deep, quiet thought. I feel that this cognitive discourse has been very healthy for me, but what has been frustrating is that I can’t seem to conclude my thoughts; I cannot seem to quite deliver an explicit and concise answer. What is more is that it seems that the only way that I can truly find the answer is outside of anything cognitive or rational as I know it. I sense that in the wholeness of being human lies the mystery of something more than ourselves that we cannot fully grasp, especially when considering justice.
There is a fundamental separation between the justice system of the world and the justice system of God. This is obvious to those who have discovered the glory of the divine Creator. But maybe we still don’t quite have an understanding of the fact that we don’t understand. By that I mean that there is man’s justice and then there is God’s justice, and because God’s justice transcends man’s view of justice, we might need to admit that we will never quite fully grasp it. But that does not merit apathy on our part in attempting to accomplish justice. We need justice because there is a universal Sin in all humans, and this universal Sin gives birth to injustice towards other humans. But the problem is that all humans believe in the justice as a result of sins, but not all believe in justice because of the inherent Sin within man. Really, if we did accept that all men are inherently sinful, then we would inflict punishment on each other constantly. But isn’t that what we are condemned to anyways through our actions in separating ourselves from God? When Adam and Eve first sinned, they immediately realized that they were naked. They became self-conscious. This is the epitome of what Sin is, isn’t it? Being self conscious drives us to sin against each other and God, and sinning against each other and God makes us self-conscious. To put another spin on the whole concept, since we are so caught up in the worship of ourselves, we cannot quite grasp the justice that is consequential to our Sin. If we really did, I imagine that we would immediately make our way to the Judge to hand ourselves over to be condemned and sentenced.
Justice is a divine response to the rebellion of the creation from its Creator, but moreover, it is the NATURE of the Creator. God is love and God is just. I guess that it would be fitting to say that God knows a justice that is far beyond our perception, but by pardoning the sinner, he enables him to take part in this divine reality.

Sunday, July 17

Numero Uno

Ya, I actually did it. I made a blog. Does this mean I've up and gone soft, sharing my feelings and other sensitive stuff like why I sleep with a teddy bear at night? (Wait, what?). Actually, Ive been meaning to do this for a while, but haven't gotten around to it and really, I'm not that fond of technology so its bit annoying to try to wade through this muck of setting things up and coming up with a name and junk, but I have alot of stuff I think folks would enjoy reading. Plus its an opportunity for me to write about questionable things that might otherwise get me flogged if I were to utter them in public. Not really, but there has been alot on my mind over the past couple years, and since I have 'been around' per se, meeting so many people through college and such, its a good way for you all to keep up with the mess that is Doug's thoughts if you so choose (not always a good choice)...

So what am I gonna blog about? Im glad you asked because its not really that simple. The name of the blog really sums it up. So here's my profound metaphor. Everyone has a box. Its what creates who we are as people. We put things in our boxes, we take things out, and at a certain point in time, whatever is taking up the space of your box is what defines you as a person. Our experiences, the people we've met, our passions, what we love, what we hate, our cars, our colleges, our jobs, our families, our friends, our beliefs. Its all stuff that we put and take out of our boxes as we trek through life. What matters is that you begin to realize what is worth keeping in the box, what is worth throwing out, and how to discern the difference. I'll admit, this idea doesn't come directly from my little brain. It's actually a concept that I got out of a class last semester from one of my professors (who may or may not have gotten it from someone else...).
So I guess you could say that this little corner on the good ol' World Wide Web is place that I hope to be honest, authentic, and creative in describing what is in my lifebox. Because I have found that when I share with others in honesty what is in my mind, I can be more true with who I am as a person and thus begin to put things in my box that are rich and good and worthy of my life.
Paul wrote to the church in Colosse, telling them to set their hearts and minds on things above; things that will last. I believe that this is ultimately the posture we should have when considering what we should place in our boxes. The exciting thing is that God has given us so much even while we think we have so little, and this is encouraging because not only does it change the size of things that are in your box, but it enlargens your box itself to hold more than what you can imagine.
So this is where it gets complex. This whole blog thing is going to be my attempt at integrating my faith and my passions. This involves just about everything in my life. I still haven't figured out how exactly I will be posting an essay on God's justice right after posting a link to the USAT nationals, but like I said, these are things that are in my box. Take them as you may, and my hope is that I am authentic through it all.